Ixthos

How you world build

38 posts in this topic

On 7/11/2019 at 1:54 PM, Ixthos said:

@Invocation You know, I don't think altered states of consciousness are actually that healthy for writing, whatever some famous artists might say ... :-P

That's what they want you to think!

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On 7/11/2019 at 7:40 PM, Ax's Boyfriend said:

---?

Your idea for the intro/trigger notion of the magic was really cool :D

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I've been reconsidering my approach to worldbuilding and I've been struck by a question. What even is the function of worldbuilding?

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2 hours ago, Pagliacci said:

What even is the function of worldbuilding?

It's at least an exercise like conlanging... IDK I have built so many random worlds IDK what to do with them :P

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3 hours ago, Pagliacci said:

What even is the function of worldbuilding?

My general opinion is that worldbuilding is simply a tool used to build a great story (which is why I tend to have a story prior to having the culture development to make that story happen). 

What I've realized over my years of reading and writing is that the more real something is, the more people connect to it and appreciate it. Because of this, we build worlds that could be real so that we can have a readable story that other people can connect with. If you don't build a world that makes sense to the story you're writing, you end up with something that seems half-hearted and isn't all that enjoyable to read.

Outside of those very real reasons about the function of world building, I will say that world build is a BLAST. So if nothing else, the function is to have fun! ;-)

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@Pagliacci That is a very interesting question, and a very open ended one, as world building can be both an ends and a means.

What are your goals? To tell an interesting story? Then world building is a means to make a setting in which to tell it, and a means of enhancing the tale, by giving events weight, history, gravitas. To come up with a story? Then world building is a way to slosh ideas around and find a place in which to set it, and to guide it. To entertain yourself? Then world building is a means of expanding the field and giving it depth. To gain more understanding of existing cultures? Then world building is a method to explore hypothetical cultures, or to model existing ones and see possible ways they have or could have grown or touched one another. All of the above? Then world building is a tool with many uses.

As @Ripheus23 and @Xardan Ta'Caran have pointed out, its a means of making something of something with depth and value, and a method of exercise. It is a tool with many uses, and not all of them immediately obvious :-)

Edited by Ixthos
fight to find
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I have only built one world that is different than ours to date, and that's actually not even complete yet. I did it because the story I was starting to imagine in my head left me with more questions than answers and I needed to know those answers: but I am the creator, so I made the answers. How does a wood based magic work in a technologically advanced space-faring universe? Well, you have to have an answer to that question. We are not asking readers to suspend their beliefs, but to accept new ones for a time, but it has to be reasonable. They want Jaws, not Sharknado.

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I find that I come up with pieces of worldbuilding that I might not know what to do with, but eventually they just fall into place. It connects a bit to something I've noticed while simply writing or outlining, where scenes or characters appear that may seem extraneous when I first have the idea, but end up being integral to making my story work. It's like my subconscious has a plan already, but my main conscience is just waiting for it to be revealed.

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I start with a setting that I really like. For example, when I was first writing one of my short stories, I really liked the woods, and I really liked foxes. Therefore, my story took place in the woods, and was about foxes. Then I expand on the world. I'm writing what will hopefully become a novel in the future, and it takes place in the same world, and the fox of my short story will probably get a cameo. I'm also 'writing' a bunch of other stories that take place in the future of this world. Sometimes I add some magic, cuz I like magic. But most of my ideas come from when I'm tired and my brain's just like "hey, this is gonna sound stupid, but hear me out. What if..." And then I choose the ones I like and fight to make them work. Like, I can't just suddenly give my character heat resistance when she burnt herself in the second chapter! 

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Usually I take things I see or hear in real life and apply them to my story. Sometimes just words I hear, normal everyday words, end up as a character's name or a building or town. I just hear a word and I'm like, "That is perfect for this character's name!" It's a 'Eureka!' moment and I love it when it happens.

I also just think of things that sound cool. Random mishmash words that don't meant anything but just look cool. I like weird sounding names, or characters named after objects or words which is very apparent in my writing.

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My world-building almost always starts with a single idea. Something simple like "what if there was a world where BLANK" or "I like the idea of BLANK". This idea becomes the "hook" for the universe. The ideas usually come from some aspect of life, like someone will say something that plants a seed in my brain. That seed then bursts into a thought, and that thought won't go away until I've given it a fair amount of consideration. That single thought then turns into a simple idea, "If the world is A, then the main characters must be B", or "I really like the plot idea A, so the world must be B." An example of this is one of my favorite book ideas came from this single thought that I had while driving to work, "If there exists a best of both worlds, then by logic, there must exist a worst of both worlds."

The next step is usually deciding what genre the idea is in, and where it takes place. Is it fantasy, mystery, sci-fi? Does it take place on an alternate earth? or on a fictional planet? I like to know exactly where and when my story is set, and what tone I think fits it best. I also like to decide what age range I think the novel targets. This allows me to figure out the finer details of the plot, world, and characters. 

I usually sit on this part for a while, mulling over various small details of the idea until I get near one of my brothers. (Two of my brothers specifically.) I lead the conversation off with "I came up with a new book idea!" which always causes one of them to groan, he is kind of obsessed with one of my ideas and really wants me to write it (which I am) but he thinks that new ideas delay the writing of the one he likes (which it does :)). I then explain the idea, which is still a simple about one paragraph idea. Then the ideas start flowing. It's like a floodgate opening, we start bouncing ideas off each other back and forth until the simple idea has blossomed into a fully-fledged world and plot. Sometimes it takes longer than others, sometimes it takes more than one brainstorming session. But I've found that there's nothing better than a brainstorming session to help turn and idea into a world.

 

Also, there's a fun little improv game my brother and I came up with. It really helps as practice for world and plot building. Basically all you do is look up a random word generator and generate three words (you don't have to use the first three words you get, feel free the keep generating until you find something that catches your eye). For example, here are three words I just generated: Vegetable, Throne, and Loss. Then you take those words and rearrange them into a title, "The Loss of the Vegetable Throne." Then you simply pitch the idea to the other people playing, including details such as characters, plot, setting, etc. (Ironically, I am currently drawing a total blank as to what "The loss of the vegetable throne" could be about.) 

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On 6/30/2019 at 6:54 PM, Kureshi Ironclaw said:

I've been using WikidPad to organise all my notes, so it is like separate documents linked with hyperlinks. That way I pretend I'm writing a wikipedia article when I'm filling stuff in so it still engages the creative part of my brain. It's pretty handy because I can see the document tree and search for key words if I need to find anything specific.

I was looking for something like this for a while but ended up using Tiddlywiki instead. I personally found it way more intuitive, and visually appealing. I also liked the fact that it is all stored in a single HTML file and can be opened and edited from any device that can open a web page. It also has the functionality to work directly from google drive, so I can open and edit it from any device without having to carry it around on a flash drive. 

On 7/1/2019 at 11:21 AM, Ixthos said:

I've heard of that. Custom encyclopedia style notes can be both fun and useful, especially in a scholarly sense. Do you write your notes as though from an in-setting perspective, or more as a commentary to yourself, as in notes to yourself by yourself?

I personally write it as if I'm explaining it to someone. I try to be as specific as possible and use simple language to describe things. This is for two reasons: One is if I died unexpectedly, anyone could read it and understand it not just someone who already knows the context. The second reason is I feel that the better I can explain something in simple clear language, the better I myself understand it. And the better I understand it, the better I can write about it.

Edit: Sorry about the double post, but I couldn't figure out how to add a quote to my previous one by editing it. 

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6 hours ago, TheVillageIdiot said:

I was looking for something like this for a while but ended up using Tiddlywiki instead. I personally found it way more intuitive, and visually appealing. I also liked the fact that it is all stored in a single HTML file and can be opened and edited from any device that can open a web page. It also has the functionality to work directly from google drive, so I can open and edit it from any device without having to carry it around on a flash drive. 

That actually sounds a lot more convenient. I'll look into it. Hopefully it won't be too hard to port everything over.

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